ATA drive generations change rather frequently, while progress in the SCSI drive sector is usually quite gradual. Two years ago, the maximum capacity of SCSI drives was doubled from 74 GB to 147 GB, and the next major upgrade is taking place today. It will now be possible to get 300 GB SCSI drives running at 10,000 RPM, and Maxtor's Atlas 10K V is the first drive in this category.
The exterior of this unit has barely changed from previous models. It is still a 3.5'' format, 10,000 RPM device with an 8 MB cache, using the Ultra320 SCSI interface. Since per-platter capacity has been increased by 100%, fewer platters are needed to hold the same amount of data. From now on, the 74 GB version will require only one platter; two platters will be used for the 147 GB version, and four platters for the 300 GB top model.
The change to a higher capacity is interesting not only in terms of storage density, but also heat dissipation. Due to the lower platter count, the smaller versions don't need as much energy and therefore don't get as hot as in earlier generations.
The drive electronics underneath the aluminum cover have also been optimized: A lot of features have been added to this product generation (such as MaxAdapt). Several months ago, Maxtor arranged for some interesting phone briefings with the technical press in order to point out the technical details of Atlas 10K. Let's take a look.